Lent Week 2 – Love
Every week during lent we will be posting a short devotional thought which we hope you will find a blessing.
God loves you. Full stop.
‘Do you understand what I have done for you?’ John 13:12
The honest answer is, ‘No we don’t.’ None of us really understands. We may claim to, but whenever I hear a simple explanation of the life and death of Jesus I come away feeling that the speaker hasn’t really understood the question.
There are so many layers of meaning to be peeled away, one by one. We can take the question simply in relation to Jesus washing the disciples’ feet, its meaning in terms of service and the way we act towards one another. Beyond that we’re asked if we understand his life and ministry. Then from our place in time the question asks if we understand what his death means, and beyond even that whether we really appreciate the power and significance of the resurrection and the activity of the Holy Spirit in the world today.
The question takes us into the core of faith and, for me, the only answer is, “No, I don’t understand, but I’m glad it happened.” And I’m comforted by the assurance in the same passage that one day we will understand.
But looking at the story I’m drawn back again and again to the thought of Jesus kneeling at Judas’ feet. It’s a compelling picture which vibrates with an intensity I find hard to bear because it shows starkly the reality of what love must mean. Jesus loved Judas as he loved the other disciples, and nothing Judas could do would alter that. And when Jesus prayed for forgiveness from the cross for all who had harmed him, I’m sure Judas was included.
On a tour of England some years ago, Archbishop Desmond Tutu spoke to some young people. He said, “God loves you, not because you are beautiful, although you may be. God loves you, not because you are good, although you just might be. God loves you. Full stop.”
No trait of personality or behaviour can put an obstacle in the way of real love. Wherever we are, whatever we do, Jesus loves us completely, wholly, and utterly selflessly. I don’t understand it, but I gladly accept it.
Eddie Askew – Extract from ‘Cross Purposes’
Lord… You are too deep for understanding, my mind too small to encompass you. There comes a point when thoughts can’t cope, when all the theory and theology lies threadbare, and the only fit response is to fall down and worship.
It is the love of Jesus that meets people with leprosy when they arrive at Purulia Hospital in their deepest need and brings hope, help and acceptance. Where the world rejects them because of stigma, disability and fear, Jesus loves them completely. Full stop – thank God.